Posted on | January 16, 2013 | 16 Comments
‘Occupy Steubenville’ protesters, Jan. 5
“Protestors descended on Steubenville, Ohio [Jan. 5] to demonstrate their opposition to the possible cover-up of the alleged rape of a 16-year-old high school student by members of the Steubenville High School football team. …
“Occupy Steubenville, as the rally came to be called throughout social media, was the second such protest in as many weeks, and it was organized by the hacker collective known as Anonymous and an offshoot group known as KnightSec.”
— Jeff Stone, International Business Times, Jan. 5, “Occupy Steubenville Protesters Descend On Ohio Town To Demonstrate For Rape Victims, Call For Football Coach’s Job”
Some of you may remember the “Send the Body to Glenn Beck” uproar in 2009 after a Census worker was reportedly lynched in Kentucky and the Left jumped to the conclusion (with help from an anonymous Justice Department “source”) that this was some kind of Tea Party/right-wing talk radio/Michelle Bachmann-inspired hate crime.
Everybody was making lots of noise about the case, until I went to Kentucky and began reporting from the scene, where no reasonably well-informed person believed the “anti-government” theory of the crime. An embarrassed silence took hold and. by the time the truth came out — that Bill Sparkman had committed suicide and staged it to look like murder — the Left pretended that they’d never heard of Clay County, Kentucky.
Something similar seems to be happening, now that Lee Stranahan has gone to Steubenville, Ohio, and begun slowly dismantling the “Rape Crew” mythology that the media have helped propagate.
A week or two ago, reporters were breathlessly hyping the idea that what happened in Steubenville on the night of Aug. 11-12 was symptomatic of an American “rape culture” of which the Big Red football program was typical. It was suggested that the victim had been gang-raped multiple times, used as a “rape toy” with the tactic acquiesence of the entire community of Steubenville, where the corrupt police were involved in a conspiratorial cover-up to protect the guilty.
Uh . . . no.
What evidently happened, according to court testimony that Stranahan has carefully compiled, is that a 16-year-old girl was molested by two 16-year-old boys while she was so drunk that she was “unconscious and incapable of giving consent,” as her attorney told Fox News. Allegedly, I must emphasize: The two accused teenagers won’t stand trial until next month and are, of course, presumed innocent in the meantime.
So what happened to all the media who gave saturation coverage to this story a week or two ago, during the “Occupy Steubenville” protests? Where is the clarification of all those stories that conveyed the impression that this Ohio town was Rapeville, U.S.A.?
If you listen closely enough, you can hear the crickets chirping.
Here’s a guess: Reporters have started figuring out that their sources for the conspiracy-theory gang-rape version of events — Alexandria Goddard, Anonymous, LocalLeaks — lack credibility. Stranahan’s item headlined “LocalLeaks Corrected: The Basic Story Wrong” shows the extent of the errors, many of which were echoed by unskeptical reporters. But the facts don’t check out and so, rather than running stories with headlines like, “Hey, Y’Know, We Kinda Got Carried Away With That Gang-Rape Story,” instead the media are just being quiet.
Suspiciously quiet. And now I notice that even Alexandria Goddard herself is starting to walk it back (sorry, no link):
When I first started writing about the Steubenville case, there was one thing that bothered me the absolute most. It was not that law enforcement did a shoddy job — I never claimed that, and will never make that claim. I know many of the officers at Steubenville PD and they are very fine and upstanding men. What bothered me greatly was the number of bystanders (as evidenced by social media) who stood by and did nothing. The complete and utter lack of empathy of anyone that night bothered me greatly.
Wait just a damned minute here — Goddard ginned up a firestorm, was accused of libeling a Steubenville student who wasn’t charged in the case and has since been accused of using LocalLeaks as a vehicle to publicize gossip she doesn’t want her name attached to, all of which had the effect of stoking the conspiratorial cover-up theory, and now she wants to say that she never impugned local law enforcement?
Go read some of the reporting Lee Stranahan has done:
- Steubenville: No Means No
- LocalLeaks Corrected: The Basic Story Wrong
- Steubenville Fact Check: Where The Alleged Assaults Occurred
- Steubenville Rape Case: Everything You Know Is Wrong
- Steubenville Transcripts: When Were The Phones Seized?
- Steubenville Transcript : Standard Of Proof For Probable Cause
- LocalLeaks Corrected: The “Rape Crew”
- LocalLeaks Corrected: Mark Cole
- LocalLeaks Corrected: Charlie Keegan
- Hey Conservatives: Who’s Talking About Steubenville?
- Commander X – The Fugitive Who Is Attacking Steubenville – And His Sinister Motives
- Why Is @KYAnonymous Lying About How He Learned About Steubenville?
- Alexandria Goddard’s End-Run Used To Smear Steubenville Students
- How Goddard Promotes Things She Knows Are Lies
- Steubenville Trial Transcript: No Probable Cause For Kidnapping
- Steubenville Probable Cause Hearing Transcript: Awake From First To Second Party
- Steubenville Probable Cause Hearing: Dox About Matt Belardine Contradicted By Two Witnesses
- Steubenville Probable Cause Hearing: The Urination “Joke”
- Steubenville Probable Cause Hearing: Nude Photos of Accuser Found On Trent May’s Phone
- Steubenville Probable Cause Hearing: The Drinking Defense?
- Steubenville Probable Cause Transcript: NSFW Details
Understand what Lee is doing here: Using his blog as a sort of notebook, laying out the facts piece by piece, while preparing to put together the complex narrative account of the Steubenville story. Meanwhile, however, Stranahan emphasizes the need for restraint:
I have no interest in trying the case in public. We haven’t heard from the defense and we’re only heard a little from the prosecution in the Probable Cause hearing. Let’s let the case play out. Let’s not rush to judgment.
Exactly. We don’t have all the facts yet, and therefore should not presume to know things that we do not actually know.
- Jan. 15: Steubenville ‘Rape Crew’? Non-Facts Smear the Innocent in an Ohio Town
- Jan. 14: Lynching Big Red: National Media’s Journalistic Crime Against Steubenville
- Jan. 13: ‘Anonymous’ and Steubenville: Online Lynch Mob Complicates Rape Case